Why Love Shouldn't be Canon!

Disclaimer: This topic is an edited repost I wrote on BZP. I really liked this piece and I'm posting it here to see if it could get more discussion and maybe even attention from the podcast members. It's a long post but it's elaborate and I think really relevant to a long-standing discussion in Bionicle that more people should read

So, I was thinking, which as you all know is already a bad sign.

Let's talk about love!

Love in Bionicle G1 isn't canon, and it's been specifically stated as so by the mighty Greg Farsthey, his great power moving mountains and bringing back thousands characters from the dead in a single motion. And for many this has been a point of contention with the Greg-Nui, for to many it makes no sense why this would be the case. Is love not unity? Is love not allowed because they're part robots? I mean seriously, love doesn't have to be sexual, and Hewkii x Macku is the cutest thing ever!

Well gather round my young matoran and look into the fire, for there are secrets to be revealed: Love not being canon is deliberate, important, and one the smartest, most interesting and powerful themes in Bionicle G1. Yep, that's right. This is coming from the fool that's made posts about the unfortunate and cruel senselessness of the de-canonization of love (on BZP that is).

So why? Why isn't Greg-Nui feeling the love? And far less importantly, why aren't I? There's a chance it has something to do with me being a simple nut job but there's more to it than that.

Let's take a look at the history of the matoran. The matoran were designed by the Great Beings to keep the Mata-Nui robot functioning, like cells. In working, doing tasks, etc. they were keeping the Mata-Nui robot functional. Without their work, Mata-Nui would get sick and die.

They initially were simply unfeeling bio-mechanical workers designed solely to operate the robot. After all, them having relationships might intervene with their work. Some matoran might decide to go off and play kolhii instead or throw rocks at Ahkmou; it's just plain inefficient. The last thing I want is for some cell in my body to get lazy and decide it doesn't feel like keeping me alive, it can be a bad influence on the others.

But as Angonce (I believe) remarked, the matoran didn't stay that way. They began to wage wars for their freedom, fight for each other and their deity. They believed, learned, grew, and became more than the micro-workers were ever meant to be: truly alive. This was an evolution, and with this evolution they became alive in the mind. They were arguably the Great Beings' greatest creation, for it's the first thing they created that could fight for and shape its own destiny.

But if they can feel now, if they've evolved, why can't they love? It's senseless, ridiculous! Love is such a huge part of the mind, and it makes no sense for them to not have it... except that it does, for now.

Evolution is typically a slow sucker, never really in a hurry to be useful. But it never really stops happening. Even you, are evolving right now into the next stage in humanity. Why should it be the same for the matoran? Why would they just stop? They've established themselves as a growing and changing species, so picking a comfy spot to chill in for the rest of their existence hardly makes any sense.

So the answer is that they're not done evolving, and that love is something they're still developing. That's the ultimate difference between them and the agori: the agori are far more advanced them them biologically and more evolved. They've been in existence for far longer than the matoran, and in the story serve as a physical vision of what the matoran could become, as well as what they should not be (considering all the fun war and splitting your own planet into three pieces sort of thing).

The agori can love because they're more advanced than the matoran, and the matoran can't love because they haven't reached that stage yet in their growth in their history.

And what about Hewkii and Macku? Well they actually make sense here. They are shown being "very affectionate" of each other in the MNOG animations, and that's not untrue. They may love each other, but not really know what it means considering it's nothing the rest of the matoran have ever likely felt before. They are the anomalies, and it's always the anomalies that change the world. They're the pin that fate balances on, and when they take that step forward and recognize their feelings (likely to be sparked by meeting the agori and learning from their example), the rest of the matoran race will follow and evolve to learn that feeling too.

Think of the X-Men! The X-Men stories show an evolution of the human race, with small amounts of people gaining super-human/advanced abilities. More and more people gain that ability as they evolve as they become a part of it, except in Bionicle's case, the ultimate power is the power of LOVE! (Side theory: Mask of Ultimate Power actually the Mask of Love?)

Love not being canon doesn't mean it doesn't have the potential to exist for the matoran, and the evolution of the matoran is one of the smartest and most meaningful themes to come out because of this.

The evolution of the matoran is a reflection of the human race, and it demonstrates a people learning to grow and fight to become something, growing beyond the menial tasks they were build for and becoming so much more, even escaping and growing above the need for their deity and shell of a universe.

The migration of the matoran out of the robot is a metaphor for them literally seeing the light. Mata-Nui himself explains how the matoran don't need him anymore and how he would just be a shadow standing over them, limiting their potential for what they could become.

Evolution stands for so much in humanity. It stands for the breaking of the shackles that bind us and hold us down to the slavery of mortality, and climbing the ladder to become more than submissive and worshiping, but becoming productive to ourselves and each other. And while the agori nearly destroyed themselves, it is out of them that the matoran were shaped, except directly changed to have Unity, Duty, and Destiny, so they would not make that mistake. In being given this, they were by design destined and shaped to become more; to work on themselves, on each other, and the future they would all occupy as one. They show that their destiny IS their evolution, and vice versa.

So rather than cursing the great Greg-Nui for de-canonizing love, we ought to be thanking him, for after thinking about it the design of it makes so much more sense this way and makes for a far more meaningful and powerful story. It's beautiful, like poetry, and is just one more reason to love the Bionicle.

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This is interesting, but there a couple points that I have to bring up.

First off

This isn't entirely accurate. If my understanding of Bionicle lore is correct, Velika was the one who granted the matoran true intelligence as beings. Not any form of evolution.

Second. I do agree that it still makes sense for the matoran to develop their understanding of love. I don't the that removes their capacity to feel it. As you said, love is an integral part of intelligence. This intelligence was granted to them in an instant through Great Being magic science.

The matoran are given the capacity to love, what they aren't given is the knowledge to understand it. That's what they'll need to develop.

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I think you're really over-exaggerating.

Interesting theory.

This got a chuckle out of me.

Regarding the theory, it's interesting for sure. However, as @Sonus pointed out, Velika did cause them to become sentient. I'm not sure if he allowed them to learn outside of their programing, however. It's possible.

My main issue is that love between Matoran not only exists, but romantically doesn't have any use. Two Matoran can love each other as friends and as team members. There is no point for romantic love in Bionicle since there aren't families, and there aren't children. For Agori, those things exist. But not for Matoran. It just isn't very useful to them at all, and learning it wouldn't exactly make it useful either. Although, Greg said it is possible for the Matoran to observe Agori love and possibly learn about it that way.

If @Jon stops by, he'll likely want to argue this on the merits of story, and how love affects at story. I don't really agree with him on it, but it's a fun debate no less.

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It doesn't matter if it's useful or not. The capacity for a love is a key component of intelligence. Just because the matoran can't reproduce doesn't mean that they can't have strong bounds between each other just as a human couple could have. If what your saying were true, then why do old couples stay together? They certainly can't reproduce. The reasons will be different at times, but there those that stay together not because of physical needs, but because of mental needs.

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Which the Matoran already have. And Toa, to that matter. However, it is often times referred to as a sibling love. But none of it is romantic.

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You can't have only sibling love and not romantic love. They all stem from the same source. An intelligent mind. Which the matoran have after Velika's tampering. You can't have one without the other. Sure Bioincle's lore may not have been entirely written that way, but that's an error on Greg's part.

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That's not how evolution works. Individuals do not evolve. Evolution only happens through reproduction and the passing along of certain genes. Therefore, while you as an individual are not evolving, your children will be a small step towards the "next stage of humanity", and so on.

However, we know from the way that the Makuta "evolved", the stuff I mentioned above isn't how it seems to work in the Bionicle universe. Individuals clearly are capable of changing and adapting over time, but it's never explained how...

Also, as @Eljay said, I thought that Velika granted the Matoran intelligence and free will. I'm not 100% sure if I'm remembering correctly though.

Interesting theory, though.

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Ah, good point, but individuals still play a part in evolution, as the whole is but a collection of parts. You yourself may not be directly evolving, but you are playing a role and are a part moving forward. And there's more than one way of evolving. Mental evolution is different, and humans are experiencing changes far more dramatically than ever before because of technology and our newly developed ability to communicate at incredible speeds. Our minds are more at work at every moment, and the youth learn more and more every day than those before them ever did.

As has been mentioned, romantic love is an extension of love and unity as we know it. It's an off set of love, as emotions aren't exact and defined. The chemicals you produce to feel love (or the joy that comes with it, as love is a very abstract concept) aren't unique to that of all other positive feelings, as a lot of it is about context as well. Love can also be the saddest and most painful thing in the world, so it still makes sense that it would develop. Through time minds tend to evolve to expand and become more intelligent, rather than the opposite, so it makes no sense that their minds would be selective and limit themselves to feeling a certain type of love but not all others.

To be able to access the extremes of our emotional spectrums is important and helps us reach to all other perspectives. For some gaining the ability to feel stronger attachments like romantic love is actually more useful, as it gives them something to attach to and have a mental sense of security.

As to Velika... well, I sort of personally consider the serials half-canon. They bring up a lot of cool ideas and are really important to how they affect the Bionicle universe but they're completely unfinished and leave Bionicle in a very awkward spot where there are more questions than answers, but the kind that don't make the story any better.

But I feel my theory still holds up. Velika could've started the evolutionary process, but after that first push the rest of the dominoes must fall on their own! I tend to look at things from a story-teller's perspective so these things make sense to me lol.

I disagree! I think I may even be under selling this! Bionicle has always been about the individual and their relationship with the whole, and this theory not only changes, but makes sense how we view that. It strengthens the core themes of the story!

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Oh, totally.

Love is a powerful thing in stories, because it's able to have people relate to the characters on this emotional level. The theme of romantic love fueling someone or being a subplot really helps add an extra layer of dimension and character. It can be done wrong, sure, but so can time travel alternate universes and look where we ended up with Krakua and Tuyet.

I'm also lumping in romantic love with the concept that the Matoran can't reproduce - which I feel is a huge error on whoever made that decision. See, when you cut out the ability to reproduce, you cut out the majority of the relationships that the kid audience can relate to. Kids have families, they have fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers and uncles and aunts and grandparents. They have friends and teachers and frenemies and bullies and crushes...they have all of these relationships that tie and fuel them. So when you have those same relationships in your story, it's easier for them to relate to the myriad of different relationships that mimic the ones they already have.

Plus, the potential for story and dynamic between the characters is much better once you introduce relations. There's much more possibilities there. Imagine the relationship between a father and son, between a brother and sister, between a lover and a friend. When you cut that out, when you neuter it to only being platonic friend relationships, you get rid of all of the possible dynamics and leave only one.

I mean, how would Ninjago be if Lloyd and Garmadon were just "good friends"? What if Wu and Garmadon both considered Misako a "sister"? We see the dynamics in Ninjago, and they fundementally shape the story like nothing else could. It's not always done well - the Cole/Jay/Nya subplot was too forced and was pushed in your face too much. But you look at shows like The Last Airbender, with Zuko and the Fire Lord and Azula and their mother, and you tell me that getting rid of those fundamental relationships does not ruin those characters and what they go through.

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This is why I dont care about "official" canon and make my own which has sense to me, like one that has love cause love is important to a sentient being, specifically humanoid near human beings....which Bionicle is.

Despite them being Biomechanical beings from a fictional world...we still put tropes, elements, and emotions of humans on them so as to make them more relatable to us and love is one of the key elements that makes us human. To remove that is to remove a large chuck of what makes us a species, and doing so in a setting like this which arguably has shown examples of love on many occasions fundamentally makes no logical sense when you go deeper into what kind of loves we are talking about here.

This is something I never understood personally. Why is reproduction required for relationships? Adoption, mentorship, and other such relationships don't require reproduction in order for them to work. You can have a father-son relationship with Turaga/Toa and Matoran, you can still have teacher student relationships, "frenemies," bullies, etc. all without reproduction. Romantic love and reproduction is not required for children to understand or get attached to characters and their relationship with one another.

That is illogical. Bionicle, with the Matoran Universe, only eliminates romantic love and thus every relationship you gave, except for lover and friend, exist. Brotherly, or platonic, love is a far more powerful and truer form of love than romantic love. "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." That is truly caring and loving someone, not romantic love. Romantic love is nothing more than wanting to sleep with a person, nothing more.

Even taking all forms of love away, you can still have dynamic relationships between characters. Bitter rivalries, hatred, fear, sadness, confusion, etc. Many, many different emotions and ways to have characters react to others based on their relation with one another. A character what was tortured by another and later meets their torturer are going to have feelings of hate, fear, pity, etc. depending on the character and situation. Love isn't necessary for any of that, nor is it enhance by love. Sticking and focusing on love, especially romantic love, is true death of dynamic character relationships.

First off, Ninjago is terrible from a story perspective and most of the relationship between the characters only makes that story even worse. I don't have time to explain all my problems with Ninjago's story and why it is so terrible, that will be for another day. However, all of those relationships can be done without reproduction and even romantic love to an extent. See Tom King's run of Marvel Comic's character the Vision and his family for a reference point.

Or better yet, just look at robots/androids. They often consider their creator to be their father or mother and in turn their creator considers them to be a son/daughter. Other robots or creations made by the same creator or someone related to the creator are/could be considered to be a sibling to the first robot. And more can easily be done, all without reproduction or blood lines. Now if you for some reason still want terrible love triangles and romance, then yes, romantic love is require for those two-three relationship types that exist. But for the most part, a majority of relationships exist with at least platonic love if love is involved at all.

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This is interesting and fun to think about, but thanks to your "it's another reason to love Bionicle" comment it just seems like you only wrote this only looking at one side of the spectrum. I agree with @chilly, you're seeing trying to see things that aren't there.

I don't think the issue here is love, it's Greg himself. He contradicts himself nonstop, and thanks to that your thoughts, even though they could make for some very compelling character interactions and development, couldn't work. He said love isn't canon, but he said it's because Matoran Universe inhabitants have no reason to love. Just because they can't do each other doesn't mean they don't have love. I strongly believe Greg just went with the simple "love isn't canon" way of saying things because saying "sex and by extensionsion love isn't canon because Matoran weren't made with reproductive parts" probably wouldn't fly with Lego. When Greg had to find a way of saying love doesn't exist for Matoran, people lost it because they don't read into the story and they need to be spoon-fed everything. Different characters clearly have deep emotional bonds, and while that doesn't automatically extend to romantic feelings it doesn't mean the love and affection isn't there. The Matoran just don't know what love is because it wasn't programmed into them. They didn't know anything beyond work before Velika messed around, they learned and grew. But confined to the Mata Nui robot they would've never discovered love because there was nothing in the universe for them to observe and learn what love is. They may have had those feelings, but it would be unexplainable until they arrived on Spherus Magna.

On a personal note, I strongly believe love in all forms should've been canon for Matoran Universe inhabitants just because love can really mess with a person(or bio mechanical beings) and lead to interesting arcs for characters.

"Romantic love is nothing more than wanting to sleep with a person, nothing more."

You're mixing up romance with sexual attraction man. They coexist, but aren't even close to being the same thing.

Edited for Double Posting - Waj

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The only other definition of romantic love is that of perceiving a false reality. Imagination or envisioning someone/something else in a more ideal appearance than what it actually is. Or thinking you know or have a deeper relationship with someone when one doesn't exist.

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Now you're trying to bring logic into love, which is silly because no textbook definition is going to tell you what love feels like. If you love someone, you love them and you just know. You accept everything about them, and if you spend all your time pretending they're better then they actually are it's not real love, it's superficial. Again, there is a difference between sex and romance. Just because they go hand in hand doesn't make them the same thing.

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Acceptance of faults others have and spending time with them because you care is what has always been defined to me as brotherly love.

And I'm a detached machine of a person, so I'm going to try and bring reasoning to everything. I only have dictionaries and media to reference after all.

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Well I guess being an emotional person myself were doomed to continue down the path of logic vs passion.

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But... you quite literally just quoted back my idea to me and said that I'm "trying to see things that aren't there."

I don't know if you read the entirety of what I wrote, but I fully explained how the matoran are evolving and growing to feel and understand things like love.

And I'm not going to fool myself into believing in something that wasn't there. The matoran and their evolution are real themes that are important and relevant in Bionicle. I'm not adding or taking anything away with this theory, rather I'm just taking a more detailed and realistic look at what there is. Maybe it wasn't a deliberate and brilliant move by Greg to de-canonize love, but it ended up having a pholosophical and meaningful impact that in my opinion, makes the story just a little bit more intersting.

I agree to an extent, but not completely. When I speak about love here, I talk about it in a basic, vague story-telling sense. In reality, people don't really understand love because love itself doesn't make sense. There's no hidden definition, it's a feeling, and feelings themselves are imperfect and irrational. To an extent as humans, sexuality is greatly closely tied together with romantic love, as it can be seen as a by product to make us want to find a mate more to survive and bring off-spring.

But that doesn't explain why people stay together when one of the two is infertile, or why we have homosexuality. What's happened is that humans are changing and evolving, separating from nature. Romantic love has become a separate entity from sexual feelings, or else I wouldn't be paying attention to women's personalities and would only be looking at the width of their hips.

And yes, love itself like all emotion makes no sense. But realistically, nothing about humans does. All that really makes sense is our drive to improve and understand. In our quest to do precisely, we will be completely separate from primitive drives, and things like romantic love will change drastically, and eventually disappear as we are driven by the universe itself. But right now, we are in that awkward stage in evolution, where our minds are expanding and the world is divided. That divide will only continue to expand into the next generations, but for now we can only be the best that we are and do our best to train for the future, and the future of humanity, even if we ourselves as individuals aren't what's changing.

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"Love = reproduction!"

Homosexuality. They sure as hell can't produce offspring but they can still feel romantic love.

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